Several people seriously hurt when a Philadelphia tour bus carrying high school students slammed head-on into a Boston, Mass. overpass are filing suit against the driver and coach company.
Attorney Tom Kline says he will be filing a lawsuit for three passengers injured in the February 2 crash.
Chaperon Iris Sykes, a 43-year-old from West Philadelphia, fractured her spine in the crash, according to Kline. Her 16-year-old son Jordan Smith, a sophomore at Boys Latin Charter School, injured his back and neck.
Sykes niece Kelli Miller, a 17-year-old High School of the Future junior, suffered brain trauma and a vertebrae fracture.
The bus, operated by West Philadelphia-based Calvary Coach, was leaving Boston after taking 33 high school students and two chaperons from a Bristol, Bucks County, Pa. non-profit on a trip to Harvard University.
Driver Samuel Jackson, 66, told investigators he looked down at the coach’s GPS for a moment and when his eyes returned to the road, the 10-foot high overpass was right in front of the bus. The impact sheared off the part of the passenger bus’ roof and sent bus parts and passengers flying inside – some riders were trapped for hours.
Massachusetts officials filed criminal and civil charges against Jackson in April. The charges include a criminal count of operating negligently to endanger.
Officials say Jackson ignored height restriction signs for the roadway, Soldiers Field Road. Signs warning of the height restriction are "all over the place,'' Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department said in February.
This suit will be the second filed on behalf of passengers involved in the crash. Another suit was filed in February on behalf of the most seriously injured passenger, Matthew Cruz. The 17-year-old suffered severe spinal cord injuries and remained in the hospital for more than a month.
Kline says the latest suit will be filed in Philadelphia Civil Court Friday. Under Pennsylvania law, specific damage amounts are not sought, he says.
However, Kline says based on the injuries, the victims are hoping for a significant judgment.
“I can tell you that Ms. Sykes sustained a very significant spinal injury as a result of this accident, and that we seek significant monetary damages to compensate her,” he said.